Here Is The One Mistake Everyone Makes When Buying Collagen Powder

Contributing writer By Kirsten Nunez, M.S.
Contributing writer
Kirsten Nunez is a health and lifestyle journalist based in Beacon, New York. She has a Master of Science in Nutrition from Texas Woman's University and Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from SUNY Oneonta.
Medical review by Wendie Trubow, M.D., MBA
Functional Medicine Gynecologist
Wendie Trubow is a functional medicine gynecologist with almost 10 years of training in the field. She received her M.D. from Tufts University.
Here Is The One Mistake Everyone Makes When Buying Collagen Powder

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Shopping for supplements can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re looking for collagen. With so many options on the market, it's easy to grab any ol' collagen supplement without checking if it's organic. But it's actually one of the most important things you should be checking: While we recommend eating organic whenever possible, it is especially important when it comes to collagen supplements.

Here, we break down why. 

What does it mean when you buy supplements made with organic collagen? 

Here's the deal: Collagen supplements come from animals. This includes bovine or marine. It's naturally found in the connective tissues of these animals, including cartilage, bone, hides, and tendons; marine collagen usually comes from fish scales and skin. Because it's coming from an animal, it's best to choose organic. "You are consuming a part of the animal," Amy Shapiro, M.S., R.D., CDN, tells us. "Therefore, making sure that the animal was raised humanely and fed a grass-fed, organic, wild diet is important." That's because the animal may contain substances that are easily digested by your body. This might include pesticides and heavy metals, which are less likely to be present in animals that are raised organically. Tejas Patel, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist adds that they'll be free of antibiotics and synthetic hormones too.

And then there are the environmental benefits. Organic farming is more sustainable than traditional agriculture, as it supports soil fertility and ecological balance. Furthermore, organic farmers and animals aren't continuously exposed to toxic pesticides.

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Doesn't "grass-fed" mean organic?

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A common misconception, but no. Grass-fed does not equate to organic; nor does organic equate to grass-fed. "Grass-fed means the animal only ate grass and was allowed to feed as close to their natural state as possible," says Shapiro. And according to the USDA, grass-fed doesn't prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. Organic animals, on the other hand, eat organic feed, and organic bans the use of synthetic pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics, along with genetic engineering. However, that can include all sorts of organic feed, like corn, barley, and so on. Always look for a collagen supplement that's both grass-fed and organic, like minbodygreen's grass-fed collagen+, which is sourced from organic, grass-fed Argentinian cows. 

And if you prefer marine collagen? "There is no certification for organic seafood," Shapiro notes. In this case, she'd recommend looking for marine collagen labeled "wild."

Why you should take a collagen supplement:

If you'd like to support your overall wellness and beauty routine, consider taking a collagen supplement.* Ingesting collagen is most associated with skin-related perks, including its ability to promote healthy dermal collagen density and elasticity.* Research has also found that collagen supplementation can help manage skin wrinkling, leading to smoother skin over time.*

Beyond the skin, collagen supplementation has also been linked to nail, joint, and digestive system health.* Oh, and if you're looking to boost your workout? Add collagen to your supplement lineup, as it could encourage muscle growth and support recovery.*

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The bottom line.

Supplement labels can be confusing—so if you are looking for the best available collagen supplement, make sure that it's both grass-fed and from organic collagen sources. If it doesn't, consider it a red flag. 

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